Photo by Jamie Velasco/Courtside Philippines

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Mark Dickel expects a 'close and difficult' encounter against Indonesia in his national team debut

by Reynald Magallon, February 21, 2020 11:13pm

Gilas Pilipinas head coach Mark Dickel is expecting nothing less than a close and difficult encounter when his wards play the Indonesian side on the road in his coaching debut for the Philippine national team on Sunday.

Dickel, who was named as the interim coach for the February window, had his debut for the national team postponed after FIBA suspended Gilas' home game against Thailand. With that, Dickel will be debuting as Gilas head coach against former Gilas mentor himself and now Indonesia national team head tactician Rajko Toroman.

With the Serbian coach on the other side of the court, Dickel was expecting that it will be a close game for the national team despite history being on Gilas's side in their last six meetings against their Southeast Asian rival in the international competition.

Over the last five years, Philippines has won by an average winning margin of 32 points.

Still, Dickel refused to be complacent.

"I expect a close game a difficult game but it will be really good for us. I feel like in the last couple of practice we made huge strides and it's our chance to prove that," said Dickel who actually shrugged off the notion that Gilas can be winning by a large margin against Indonesia.

"I'll be just really happy if we play a good game, the result, should take care of itself," Dickel commented.

At least, there'll be one less trouble for the national squad as naturalized player Lester Prosper was reportedly out of the Indonesian line up for this windown after failing to secure necessary documents needed for him to suit up.

Dickel however believed that Indonesia still have the capability to give trouble to the national team if they let up.

"Obviously that changes us a little bit in terms of how we prepare but ultimately they have more than enough to get us in trouble out there," he said.

"Just the ball movement, they get great shots, the don't turn the ball over they're disciplined. These are all things that are difficult to play against especially if they hit shots," he added.

Dickel also urged Gilas to clamp down defensively against Indonesia.

"We gonna try to take them out of their patterns and sets a little bit and make it harder for their shooters because they get good shots and obviously playing at home and they hit a few, then we can be in trouble. Our whole focus is what we gonna do defensively to take their offense away.

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